A delegation Of Israeli Observers Has Been Expelled From the African Union Summit
Security agents approached the Israeli delegation during the opening ceremony, asking the officials to leave
An delegation of Israeli observers was expelled today from the opening ceremony of the summit of theAfrican Union (AU), in Addis Ababa.
This was announced by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, accusing South Africa and Algeria of the “serious diplomatic violation”.
According to the Israeli news site “Walla”, security agents approached the Israeli delegation during the opening ceremony, asking the officials to leave.
The video shows the Israeli delegation, led by the Deputy Director General for Africa at the Foreign Ministry, Sharon Bar-Li, exiting the room after several minutes of discussion.
“Israel takes seriously the incident in which the Congresswoman for Africa, Ambassador Sharon Bar-Li, was removed from the African Union hall despite her access badge accredited observer status,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Hayat.
“It is sad to see the African Union being taken hostage by a small number of extremist countries such as Algeria and South Africa, driven by hatred and controlled by Iran,” Hayat said. The ambassador added: “We ask African countries to oppose these actions that damage the organization of the African Union itself and the entire continent”.
The issue of Israel’s observer status has caused deep discord in the 55-member African Union bloc. At last year’s summit, a debate on the issue was suspended in an attempt to avoid a vote that would create an unprecedented rift in the union.
Israel was formerly accredited to the Organization of African Unity, but lost that status when the body was dissolved and replaced by the AU in 2002.
However, a committee was set up to make its recommendations at this year’s summit. The Palestinian National Authority has repeatedly urged African leaders to withdraw accreditation from Israel’s AU, denouncing its “apartheid regime”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made Israel’s strengthening relations with Africa one of its main foreign policy objectives.